When clearing ground for an equestrian facility site in a
wooded area, or when horses are allowed to graze in a wooded
area, care must be taken to eliminate poisonous plants that
are harmful to the residing horses. While horses tend to avoid
toxic plants because of their taste, they can still be affected
by foraging, particularly if in sparse areas or in times of
Cornell University lists the following species of plants
that are of particular concern to horse owners:
Red Maple, Fiddleneck, Locoweed, Yellow Star Thistle, Crown
Vetch, Jimsonweed, Horsetail, Buckwheat, St. John's Wort,
Mountain Laurel, Sensitive Fern, Black Cherry, Bitter Cherry,
Choke Cherry, Pin Cherry, Bracken, Fern Oaks, Rhubarb, Rhododendron,
Castor Bean, Black Locust, Grounsels, Common Nightshade, Black
Nightshade, Horse Nettle, Buffalo Bur, Potato Sorghum or Milo,
Sudan Grass, Johnson Grass and Yew, as well as molds of various
kinds in various feeds.
In the case of Yews and Hemlocks, whether the entire plant
or just a few clippings, a small amount can kill a horse within
hours as a result of heart failure. The list above is by no
means all inclusive and there are a number of other toxic
plants that can be researched on the internet.
Equestrian landscape architecture and site planning must
take this factor into account to assure that landscapers eliminate
dangerous plants during installation. The Landscape Architect
should walk the planned site together with the landscape installer
and check for dangerous plants and mark them for elimination.
In specifying proposed planting locations for the equestrian
site, the landscape architect must assure that toxic plants
are not placed in a position where horses can come into contact
Landscape Architects are required to be licensed by the State
in which they practice and are usually members of the American
Society of Landscape Architects, ASLA.
Landscape architecture encompasses the analysis, planning,
design, management and stewardship of the natural and built
environments. The national professional association is the
American Society of Landscape Architects, based in Washington.
ASLA full members have graduated from an accredited landscape
architecture program, have obtained 7 years of education and/or
professional experience and are state licensed. In Michigan,
as well as all other States, a three (3) day LARE examination
administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration
Boards is required to be passed for state licensure.
Landscape designers do not have these professional credentials.
Many state and local governments require designs to be stamped
with a state registered Landscape Architect's seal.
As a registered landscape architect in the State of Michigan
and principle architect with Sexton Ennett Design, LC, a landscape
architectural firm in southeast Michigan, I am particularly
aware of poisonous plants.
I am also a breeder of champion Oldenburg warm blood sport
horses and am sensitive to the issues of poisonous plants
related to equestrian facilities.
Enjoy your equestrian activities while assuring protection
of the health of your horses. One ounce of prevention is all
About the Author
Kimberley Ennett has a Master Degree in Landscape Architecture
from the University of Michigan and is a registered landscape
architect in the State of Michigan. She is a principle landscape
architect with Sexton Ennett Design, LC, a landscape architectural
firm in southeast Michigan. See: http://www.sexton-ennett.com.